While I tried to push the string to open the blind a little the whole 20 pound piece fell off the wall and hit me in the head from 7 feet above. I haven't gotten a severe concussion yet (it happened tonight) but there are symptoms of mild concussion. Also the accident caused an open wound on my scalp. Is there a way to bring guilty people to responsibility?

  • Are you able to make this more general so it doesn't violate the site policy on legal advice? – Pat W. Nov 23 '15 at 22:06
  • @PatW. We obviously need a definition of legal advice. There's nothing about this question in my opinion that makes it a request for legal advice. – phoog Nov 24 '15 at 0:13
  • @phoog Concur; I'm not sure we've been able to nail this down on Meta either. It'd be handy to come up with what we think the elements might be. In my book: particularized personal injury to OP + specific jurisdiction + request for a method to hold the offending party responsible = request for legal advice. – Pat W. Nov 24 '15 at 1:03

First off, a deficiency like this isn't about "who is guilty." Nobody is "guilty." Nobody put that 20-lb window blind up there thinking "what fun it will be when somebody gets whacked by this booby-trapped fixture!"

I'm going to make a couple assumptions, which I'll rely on for my answer. First assumption: you're in an apartment complex, with a manager and maintenance dept. Second: they have insurance. Third: there is an indemnity clause in your lease that states that you accepted the residence "as is" pursuant to a move-in inspection. Fourth: you're not actually looking to make a "payday" out of this.

Given those assumptions, we'd move on to actions. First, go to the ER or urgent care facility closest to you and get treatment.

Second, write a letter to the landlord/manager/agent/association, that due to a "hidden hazard" in the rental unit, you sustained an injury that required medical treatment. Detail the nature of the injury and the nature of the hidden deficiency. (i.e. "I proceded to operate the closure for the blinds, and they fell on my head").

Third, give the landlord/manager/agent/association opportunity to respond. Likely, they have insurance that will cover this. Chances are, they will send around a guy to check it out, an Insurance Adjuster will show up to ask you a few questions, and they'll cut you a check to cover your medical bill, and perhaps any lost wages or other costs (cleaning up broken glass? carpet stained with blood, etc.) you incurred.

Fourth, if they fail to respond in a satisfactory manner, you can bring the case to small claims court, and charge them with negligence. Expect to be able to document everything, including photos of the fallen unit that show what was wrong with it, that show that some repair/installation was done that DID NOT COMPLY TO LOCAL CODES. If it was code-compliant, it's very unlikely that you will persuade the court...unless your landlord/agent/association fails to show up.

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    With respect to your first paragraph, someone could be guilty of, or by reason of, negligence. That's most likely guilty in a nontechnical sense; for someone to be guilty of a crime, of course, there has to have been a crime, and it's not yet clear that there is a crime here. Apart from that, your description of how this should play out is very clear and sensible. I would add that some jurisdictions have housing court, which might be a better venue than small claims, but I don't know whether such courts exist in Texas. – phoog Nov 24 '15 at 0:14
  • Finally, code compliance is not an absolute defense against liability. Something could be compliant, but there could be an obvious failing that was not anticipated by the code. It's also possible that the landlord is liable even in the absence of negligence, since landlords generally have an obligation to maintain the premises. The fact that the blinds fell is prima facie evidence that the maintenance was inadequate. – phoog Nov 24 '15 at 0:23

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